SMART Fitness

Coaching people to EAT SMARTER and MOVE SMARTER so they can develop the habits necessary to achieve their HEALTH and FITNESS goals and keep them for LIFE



With 2015 less than a month away, I thought I would address the subject of goal setting. You’ve probably heard of the acronym S.M.A.R.T. as it applies to setting your goals. I’ve tweaked it a little to add a few aspects that will pertain more to your health and fitness goals.

  • “S” is for SERIOUS:  Bottom Line: If you don’t take your goal seriously you’ll never reach it. Commitment is one of the keys to success in anything we hope to accomplish. And if you are serious you will write it down and keep it in front of you regularly.
  • “M” is for MEASURABLE:  What result are you looking for? A smaller dress or pant size, a lower body fat %, a sub-27 min 5K time? All of these are measurable. Be as specific as possible. For example, my goal for 2015 is to get back into my size 32 pants (I’m a 33 now.). I purposely left out body weight as a goal for a reason. Body weight is one of several ways to measure your progress, but it shouldn’t be the only way. More about that in a future post.
  • “A” is for ACCOUNTABILITY:  Accountability can be several things:
    1. Post your specific goal on social media for all to see.
    2. Better yet, invite someone to join you on your adventure to a better, healthier you.
    3. Use a mobile app (like Nike Plus or RunKeeper) that tracks your activity and sends it to someone or automatically posts it on social media is another good way.

Use whatever works to keep you motivated towards your goal. And here’s the most important aspect of accountability: you must give permission to give you a hard time if you aren’t sticking to your success plan.

  • “R” is for REALISTIC:  If you’re 50 years old and your goal is to fit into your old high school jeans, that’s probably not a realistic goal. However, losing a few inches off of your waist or hips is realistic. Also, be realistic about your expectations. It took years to put all of that extra fat on your body; it’s not going to come off in two weeks. Be committed and be patient. DON’T GIVE UP!!
  • “T” is for TIME BASED:  Any goal should have a end date to hit. But again, make it realistic. We’ll talk later about how to pick that elusive end date. For most health/fitness related goals 3-6 months is a minimum.
  • “E” is for EVALUATE:  For your goal to be measurable, you’ll need a starting point (measurements, weight, before pic, and possibly % bodyfat,  etc.) that you can periodically check against to see how you’re progressing. I’m not saying you have to record every calorie and every rep, but the easiest way to determine if you are moving in the right direction is to record at least some data points related to your goal. And if you aren’t where you want to be, maybe it’s time to…
  • “R” is for REVISE:  Sometimes life throws us curve balls. Maybe it’s the holiday season with all of the extra food, desserts, etc. Or maybe the job got in the way, or maybe we don’t have quite as much time for the gym as we originally thought. Whatever the reason, make the necessary changes to your plan and keep going.

This should give you what you need to set your goals. All you need now is a plan to reach it.

If you have any questions or thoughts please use the comment section below.


11 Ridiculously Simple Tips to Improve Your Health

Sometimes we make things way too complicated when it comes to our health. Here are 11 Really Simple Things you can do TODAY to improve your health…

  1. STOP drinking soft drinks! This includes diet soft drinks too. Just STOP. You know it’s bad for you. If not, Google it.
  2. Eat more vegetables. Nothing new here, but choose wisely. Pick a green veggie like broccoli, spinach, or kale. Eat as much as you want.
  3. Add good fats to your diet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Sprinkle it on your veggies.
  4. Drink more water. Since you have given up soft drinks, this is the logical replacement. I like lime in mine.
  5. Eat more protein. Red meat is NOT bad for you like we were told several decades ago. Add some to your diet. Add some fish too.
  6. Stop sitting so much. If you sit at a desk for your job, set an alarm to walk around every 30-60 minutes. Park farther away from Walmart.
  7. Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning. 7 days a week. Consistency is the key to pretty much everything.
  8. Pick a type of exercise you enjoy. If you don’t you’ll never stick to it.
  9. Exercise with a friend if possible. Accountability helps with that whole consistency thing. If we know someone else is counting on us, it’s harder to blow it off.
  10. Eat breakfast. But beware of the sugar-filled cereals/yogurts/donuts/juices/etc. Eggs are one of the best sources of protein money can buy, and they are also NOT bad for you as we were once told. Google it.
  11. Stop looking at food as just something you put in your gut. It is fuel for your body, and your body is an amazing machine. Treat it as such and you will reap the benefits.

Continue reading “11 Ridiculously Simple Tips to Improve Your Health”

3 Ways Your Cardio is Making You Fatter

I have been planning to do a post on the myths we believe about cardio, specifically LSD (long slow distance) running, and why it is detrimental to the body. And then I found this excellent article by Ryan Faehnle. Check out his blog at The Fat Loss Solution. Continue reading “3 Ways Your Cardio is Making You Fatter”

How I Became a Morning Person

Up until about 9 years ago, I hated mornings. Actually, it wasn’t mornings I hated; it was getting out of bed in the mornings. I would stay in bed until the last possible second (plus a few more), sprint to the bathroom for a shower, shave if I had the seconds to spare (or my stubble was so bad I had no choice), get dressed, and maybe grab something unhealthy to eat on my way out the door. As you can imagine, I was almost always late. And being late is not a very good way to impress your boss, customers, or whomever you are supposed to be meeting with.

Sunrise at Myrtle Beach 2012 taken with my iPhone.

There were rare occasions when I actually did get up early enough to not have to rush around like a crazy person. And those days were always so much less stressful, and WAY more productive.

Finally, I decided enough is enough. If I am ever going to be successful in life, I need to start by changing how my day starts off. Here is what I came up with:

  • WANT IT – Every successful person I have ever met or read about is a morning person. They get up long before the sun rises to do things that would improve some aspect of their life. And they were NEVER late for anything! Just like any habit you are trying to develop, you have to really want it. By the way, those bad habits in your life require the same thing–you gotta want to quit!
  • MOTIVATION Okay, you’ve decided you want to develop the habit of getting up early. Why? For me it started out as a way to spend time with God through prayer and Bible reading. But as I started backing up my wake up time, I found I had time to do other things, like working out, writing a blog, and working on my novel. I’m one of those people who needs a goal to motivate me to make a significant change. Maybe you are too. Pick a dream or goal, and work on it during those extra minutes or hours in the early morning.
  • START IT – Pick a good time to wake up. This is important because if you go too early to start off, you are more likely to quit. I began with getting up at 6:00 am. This was a full hour earlier than I used to get up, but not so obnoxiously early that I would give up. If you can get done what you want in that amount of time then stay there. I wanted to do more so I gradually moved it back to 5:30 for a couple of years, and this past year I started getting up at 5:05 am (I actually “sleep in” until 5:30 on weekends!).
  • GET YOUR SLEEP – There is no way I was going to be able to get up early if I didn’t also go to bed earlier. Sleep is critical for the health of the body, and if we don’t get 6-8 hours of sleep every night, bad things will happen. This is key to the consistency part below. TURN OFF THE TV, OR FACEBOOK, or whatever is keeping you from going to sleep!!
  • BE CONSISTENT – Consistency is the key with any habit. It’s not really a habit if it’s not consistent, right? That means weekends too! I mentioned above that I allow myself an extra 25 minutes sleep on the weekends. This works for me and may work for you, but I wouldn’t go much more than that. Just like “location, location, location” is the most important thing in real estate, “consistency, consistency, consistency” is the most important thing in developing a new habit.
  • GET HELP – If you are married or have a roommate, let them know of the changes you are making. Get them to remind you to go to bed earlier. In other words, give them permission to give you a hard time if they catch you staying up late on the computer or watching TV. If they are early risers, ask them to help make sure you are up until you get your body used to it. My good friend Chad recently asked me to call him when I woke up every morning for a week to help him develop this habit. I was happy and honored to do it.
  • PREPARATION – Before you go to bed make sure you are set up for success. If you have a coffee maker that has an auto-on feature, set it to be ready BEFORE you come down so little time is wasted getting that caffeine in your body. If you plan to use this time for a workout, lay out your clothes, shoes, GPS, etc. so you can put it on right away. If you plan to read/study your Bible, have all of those materials staged and ready to go. Whatever it is, plan for it. And try NOT to hit the snooze button. Trust me when I tell you–it only makes it harder to get out of bed.

Hope this helps someone out there with their goal of becoming a morning person or early riser. If so, or if you have any questions or comments, please let me know using the comments section below.

What motivates you to get up early in the morning?

The Enthusiasm of a Child

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, our family goes to the same little place every year to get a “real, live” Christmas tree. We bring it home and decorate it that evening. Our kids are 6 and 8 this year so my wife and I are trying to make sure they understand the true meaning of Christmas. This is no easy task with the commercialism they see everywhere, especially all of the Christmas specials on TV.

I mentioned wanting to read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke to them sometime this season. The next morning Sarah, my six year old comes downstairs carrying my bible ready to read. We started in Luke chapter 1. I would read a paragraph, and then she would read one. In first grade she is learning about punctuation: periods, commas, quotation marks, and exclamation points. She is supposed to read it the way it would really sound.

She was reading when we got to verse 28:

Gabriel appeared to her [Mary] and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28).

She reads this verse with so much enthusiasm it kind of takes me by surprise. She didn’t stop reading until we got to verse 56! She was so excited to hear how Mary found out she was going to be the mother of Jesus! I’ve read or heard this story so many times I had forgotten how amazing it is. Jesus tells us in Mark 10: “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15 NLT)

I needed to be reminded that the real magic of Christmas is that God sent his son to earth through an innocent young girl to be born in a stable, live among regular people, die for our sins, and then rise again to rule the entire universe! Now that’s something to be excited about!!


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